Are opals rare?

Are opals rare?

As you may already know, opals are among the most sought-after, fascinating and also mysterious gemstones in the world.

Opals give off an unparalleled play of colours and, in doing so, also give them an unprecedented form of beauty. For all we know, opals may have attracted the attention of jewellers, collectors as well as noble blood for centuries. Opals were used to accentuate people of nobility and their opulent lifestyle. But just how rare is an opal? Let's take a closer look at that together.

What is an opal?

An opal is actually a hydration silicate and possesses water inside its mineral structure. Opals are known for their ability to diffract light, This usually creates the most brilliant colours. These colours can range from fire red to black to deep blue and so much more. This also makes the opal so incredibly special to me.

In the opal world, there are different types of opals, think of the precious black opal, the white opal, the fire opal and the boulder opal. These opals have gigantic variations when it comes to colour, origin and not to mention price.

How rare are opals?

When you start comparing opals to gemstones such as, for example: diamonds or sapphires, opals are certainly relatively rare. They owe this to, among other things, their unique formation process and the geological conditions required to form at all. Looking at the distribution, we see that Australia is simply the largest. It is incredible to consider that 95% of opals and by that I mean the world's supply comes from Australia. There are also other countries where opals are found. These include Ethiopia, Brazil, Mexico and the United States.

Are specific types rarer than others?

The most rare and undisputed winner when it comes to price is the sought-after black opal. People want this stone immensely and especially when it comes from the Lightning Ridge mine. These opals possess the strongest and most intense colours and are hugely sought after by collectors and jewellers.

Of course, we absolutely cannot forget white opals. Although these are still attractive, they are less rare and therefore generally cheaper. Fire opals originating from Mexico are as a rule quite unique again. You can recognise them by their red and orange hues and further absence of a play of colours. This in turn completely distinguishes the fire opal from all other opal types.

How is rarity and price determined?

The rarity and price of an opal are influenced not only by their type or origin, but also by their brightness and quality of colours. You often see that opals with more vivid and, above all, different colours are more expensive. In addition, and this should not be forgotten, the size of an opal also plays an important role in its price.

The value of an opal

The value of an opal depends incredibly on their colour, clarity, pattern, size and overall quality of colour play. Rare opals can be worth thousands to perhaps even millions of dollars, depending on their unique characteristics.

Collecting opals

You will find that collectors of opals are often incredibly passionate about the stone's unique characteristics. Collectors are more likely to look for stones that carry a certain history or characteristic trait. Of course, collectors additionally look at rarity and colour play. However, they see the increase in value in the story behind the opal.


We at understand better than anyone else that the opal is a rare gemstone with wonderful colourful properties. They have a certain appeal, so to speak, that is greatly enhanced thanks to their colours. Regardless of whether they are commonly found in certain locations such as Lightning Ridge, for example, opals are for me personally a treasure of the earth. For collectors and gemstone lovers, opals remain a fascinating and precious possession, valued for their beauty and the unique place they occupy in the world of gemstones.

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